1. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 19:143 edits
    A parable:

    There once was a man who was dissatisfied with his life, his work, the social conditions under which he lived—smog, noise, violence, bad weather, whatever—and he dreamed of a better place, not a fantasy place, but a real place. Let’s call that place—Wyoming. The man’s dream was of someday being able to move to Wyoming to live, when he had satisfied all his other obligations, when he had saved up enough money. In the meantime, he spent all his free time studying about this place called Wyoming: he collected maps and books and travel guides. When he came home at night, he would worshipfully pore over his Wyoming lore, tracing his fingers over the maps—road maps, topographical maps, gazetteers; he especially prized the older maps, pioneer maps on aged parchment with lovely calligraphy and artwork. He eventually came to know many of them by heart.

    Then, one day, the time came. He was free of his other duties in life and had saved up for the trip. So, he flew to Wyoming, rented a car, and began to drive the countryside. Stopping the car, far out in the country, he pulled out his favorite map and began to look around. But something was wrong. The countryside did not look exactly as the map presented it—no, that stream should be over here; there shouldn’t be a road over there; those mountains were far too big, rugged and inhospitable, and looked impossible to climb. Besides, it was overcast and chilly and drizzling, and in all his beloved pictures Wyoming lay under a big, bright, sunlit sky….

    Finally, in frustration, the man shouted into the wind: “Something’s gone terribly wrong with Wyoming!”

    _________________________________________

    Okay, a silly and certainly limited parable, but—

    Isn’t that the way we are sometimes with our religions? The world of nature does not fit with how we would like it to be, how we wish it was, how we imagine it once might have been, and once again will be (“a new heaven and a new earth” )? And we perhaps judge the world according to our precious “maps,” and find the “territory” wanting: there is something wrong with the world the way it is—it is fallen, or we are fallen; or the hard realities of the world are some kind of punishment, or test; or it is all just an illusion, an imperfect dream from which we may one day awake to find ourselves in a perfect existence. And we decide that the only way to eventually find ourselves in “paradise” is to stick to our otherworldly maps. And so we try to “live in our maps,” or at least according to our maps, in the face of an unsatisfactory world.

    Wouldn’t it be better to face the world squarely, as it is? To try to live with as much passion and joy and serenity—eudaimonia perhaps—as we can? To try to help one another do that?

    Note that I am speaking especially of the natural world (the cosmos) as humans live in it; I am not suggesting that we not try to change harmful human behavior, such as eliminating slavery or child prostitution, or whatever. I am just suggesting that we might be better to live fully in the natural world as it is given—following the “watercourse way” of Taoism, for example—rather than speculating from our “maps.”

    Or, at the very least, that we judge our “maps” by how they conform to the “territory,” and not the other way around….
  2. Connecticut
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    14 Sep '05 19:23
    "Wouldn’t it be better to face the world squarely, as it is?"

    I think it was in "The Problem of Pain" that C.S. Lewis speaks about how the numinous begets (the evolution of) religion.
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 19:32
    Originally posted by Morren
    "Wouldn’t it be better to face the world squarely, as it is?"

    I think it was in "The Problem of Pain" that C.S. Lewis speaks about how the numinous begets (the evolution of) religion.
    Ah, sending me to my bookshelf! 🙂

    In your view is the numinous an experential part of the “territory” of the natural order, that needs to be accounted for in our “maps?”
  4. Connecticut
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    14 Sep '05 19:34
    A map tells you how you can go about getting there, it does not explain how to act along the way...
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 19:55
    Originally posted by Morren
    A map tells you how you can go about getting there, it does not explain how to act along the way...
    A map tells you how you can go about getting there,

    Point well-taken—but is it then the “numinous sense” (for lack of a better term) that indicates that there is some there (some other order of existence) to get to?

    it does not explain how to act along the way...

    In most religious maps, how we act (and think) along the way seems to be the determining factor in whether or not we get “there” at all. They are, in fact, behavioral maps, often of a “spirit versus nature” character. They are also maps that speculate on why the world is the way it is—e.g., the fallen nature of humanity. Now it is clear from examining the “territory” that human beings engage in cruel behaviors that cause suffering; it does not seem clear from examining the territory, however, that there was ever a fall. Nor, to pick another religion, does it appear from examining the territory that it is all an illusion…
  6. Connecticut
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    14 Sep '05 20:02
    " that there is some there (some other order of existence) to get to? "

    The use of an actual "place" is a product of an individual religion. There are plenty out there that speak of simply being content with the energy here on this earth, in this time of life that have as much to do with the numinous.

    "it does not seem clear from examining the territory, however, that there was ever a fall."

    Yes, very true. But that is comparing an apple to an orange. The territory that the fall would have happened "in" would be the history of humanity.

    Of course, I believe that Genesis (and the fall) is a parable for the evolution of man (and everything, actually).
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 20:09
    Originally posted by Morren
    " that there is some there (some other order of existence) to get to? "

    The use of an actual "place" is a product of an individual religion. There are plenty out there that speak of simply being content with the energy here on this earth, in this time of life that have as much to do with the numinous.

    "it does not seem clear from examining the ter ...[text shortened]... ve that Genesis (and the fall) is a parable for the evolution of man (and everything, actually).
    There are plenty out there that speak of simply being content with the energy here on this earth, in this time of life that have as much to do with the numinous.

    Agreed.


    Of course, I believe that Genesis (and the fall) is a parable for the evolution of man (and everything, actually).

    By "evolution of man" do you mean the history of humanity-in-general, or an individual's development (childhood to adolescence to adulthood--which, if I recall, was Paul Tillich's understanding), or both?
  8. Connecticut
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    14 Sep '05 20:17
    " the history of humanity-in-general, or an individual's development"

    Both.

    From the big-bang, on. 😉
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 20:22
    Originally posted by Morren
    " the history of humanity-in-general, or an individual's development"

    Both.

    From the big-bang, on. 😉
    LOL. Took me a minute to get that one. 😉
  10. Connecticut
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    14 Sep '05 20:33
    Originally posted by vistesd
    LOL. Took me a minute to get that one. 😉
    I've always told people that Catholicism (my particular flavor) fits well with evolution. After all, it openly admits that parable is exactly that -- parable; along with the science behind not knowing what was behind the bang, I've come to say that God could have planted the seeds of humanity within the bang.
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Sep '05 20:52
    Originally posted by Morren
    I've always told people that Catholicism (my particular flavor) fits well with evolution. After all, it openly admits that parable is exactly that -- parable; along with the science behind not knowing what was behind the bang, I've come to say that God could have planted the seeds of humanity within the bang.
    You might be interested in the "What is a Soul" thread:

    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=28170&page=1

    lucifershammer (Roman Catholic), Metamorphosis (Buddhist), Bosse de Nagge and myself (of several "flavors" ) ended up discussing the maps analogy...
  12. Connecticut
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    14 Sep '05 20:55
    Thanks! 🙂
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